A Dog and Her Vardo

So, a vardo is a small space, especially when living with a dog.  The old dog loved sleeping under the rig as she took her guard duties seriously but unfortunately, she is no longer with us.  The youngster, on the other hand, has no interest in that sort of nonsense and only wants to be … Continue reading A Dog and Her Vardo

Making a Stitching Pony

I have needed a stitching pony for a long time now... Like so many other undone projects, this one has been stirring around in my head for several years.  Since my efforts have been so focused on sewing leather lately, the time had come for a new and useful tool in the shop.  I've looked … Continue reading Making a Stitching Pony

Responsibility

Here are some good words about responsibility I would like to share from the Northwest Woodworking Studio.

Tool box detail

Shavings

I had this crazy idea about the world and how I’d like to change it today.

Hear me out.

What if folks acted as if they were responsible for their actions? That whatever they did out in the world had a pond and ripple effect? That they are not alone on their computer, on a phone, in their world, entitled to more of everything at the expense of everyone else?

It would be like working at the bench if you will allow me. Where when you screw something up you are the one who did this. You are the one who has to fix it. You can’t turn to your neighbor, the car next to you or the bike rider, big business or the government, or your sad upbringing and history and blame them for it. You have to take responsibility for who you are and where you are in…

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The Nuts of “Ingenious Mechanicks”

Okay dammit. Now I have to make some of these…

Lost Art Press

While researching “Ingenious Mechanicks” Chris Schwarz and I found many workbenches with face vises and some of them actually had vise nuts.

In the montage above there are selections from paintings from Spain, Italy and what is now present-day Ecuador. As you can see, they range from the basic steering wheel to the curvy hurricane. The nut on the lower left is the shape Chris chose for his Holy Roman/Löffelholz workbench (and he provides the pattern in the book).

My particular favorite is a form that may have originated in Spain and made its way to Spain’s New World colonies: the double-bunny ear. The double-bunny ear provides an easy grip for tighting or loosening the vise.

The top right image is from a 17th-century Spainish painting. The next two vice nuts on the right are late 19th-to-early 20th century from Guatemala and Mexico. The vise nut on the left is of…

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‘We’re All Frauds’

If it takes five times, build it five times. I feel this sentiment almost everyday. I think that means we really care about what we do.

Lost Art Press

adam-bede-w

The book that became “Chairmaker’s Notebook” began as a chat with chairmakers Peter Galbert and Curtis Buchanan. We made a plan to produce a video of Curtis building a chair that would be accompanied by a pamphlet from Peter illustrating the construction details.

In the end, Curtis’s detailed videos ended up here. And Peter’s “pamphlet” became the best book on chairmaking I’ve ever read.

But that’s not why I remember that meeting with Peter and Curtis. Instead, I am continuously struck by something Curtis said to me in that cabin in Berea, Ky. Curtis began talking about teaching woodworking.

“We’re all not as good as people think we are,” he said. “We’re all frauds.”

This was Curtis Expletive Deleted Buchanan. A guy who has more skill than 10 magazine-grade woodworkers. And he was sitting before me explaining that – like all human beings – he has insecurities…

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Making a Spanish Guitar in the 21st Century

My friend Bob sent me a link to an excellent video documenting the construction of a Spanish (i.e. Classical) Guitar.  The man is obviously a real craftsman with a purpose-built shop and this is definitely not a one-off project.  If you are like me and like to see how things are made, this half hour … Continue reading Making a Spanish Guitar in the 21st Century